Image from Pixabay: I’ll admit my humble little weatherboard house is a far less impressive castle

Something terrible could happen if I leave my home to attempt to socialize with other people. Even with friends I’ve known for decades, I fear too much interaction with them will eventually only lead to disaster. Too much time around other people means banishment from their presence. So it’s best just to stay away from other people, as much as possible.

It’s not a rational thought, I know. Nonetheless, while the Covid pandemic has continued to spread across the planet, it has forced so many of us into isolation. I feel more comforted than imprisoned by the walls of my…

Image from Pixabay: Spam spiders weave their webs across the posts of more talented writers

Medium is the realm of great wonders, profound wisdom, and yet also a certain strangeness. Hidden amongst the digital pages are curious creatures, which display fascinating but often counterproductive behaviors. Today we will be discussing one of the many cryptid creatures that can be found amongst the wilds of Medium — the annoyingly persistent spam spider.

The spam spider is indeed a curious creature. It spends its days haunting social media. Watching and waiting for its naive prey to approach. Upon seeing a fresh post, they will immediately launch an attack. Spinning their sticky web in the comments. They never…

Image is a photo taken by the author: Bakery items on sale in our suburban kitchen

There are countless articles on Medium featuring inspiring startup stories that found success through hard work and flair for business. Unfortunately, this article is not one of those. Instead, this is a story of a couple of weirdos in love and their shady shenanigans.

My husband Zach and I spent six years studying at university to get degrees, to get jobs in professional fields of employment. Zach in teaching and me in social work. When we graduated, we followed Zach’s parent’s advice (who are both teachers). We moved away from our friendly little city, Hobart in Australia to a remote…

Image from Pixabay: From May 2020 until July 2021 my Medium account was dead

Last year in May 2020, I had a plan to find success on Medium as a writer. I had already been working as a freelance writer for the past three years, mostly on Upwork. I became top-rated, and I was starting to make a tiny bit of money from it. But I was experiencing feelings of alienation. Many of my jobs were ghostwriting, so no one but the client would ever know, even if I produced a masterpiece. …

Image from Pixabay: Stat Goblins are just one of the usual creatures you will discover on Medium

Medium is a world of great wonder, earning curiosity, and yet also a certain strangeness. Hidden amongst the digital pages are curious creatures who exhibit certain fascinating but often odd behaviors. Today we will be discussing one of the many cryptid creatures that can be found amongst the wilds of Medium—the stealthy but obsessive Stats Goblin.

The Stats Gobin

The Stats Gobin is indeed a curious creature. Always watching, waiting, clicking. Especially clicking. Smashing that refresh button frantically, as if clubbing a scared, defenseless, cute little animal. …

Image from Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain: Illustration published in the National Police Gazette February 1889 of another victim of Jack the Ripper

In the year 1888, in Victorian England. London’s East End, Whitechapel was an overcrowded slum occupied by almost a million of the city’s poorest citizens. The streets stank of filth, and living conditions were harsh. Addiction was common; comfort often only came at the bottom of a bottle of gin. As a result, many women resorted to prostitution as a means of survival from their extreme poverty.

One such woman was 44-year-old Mary Ann Nichols. Nichols was the first known victim of the infamous serial killer known only as Jack the Ripper. At least a further four women would fall…

Image from Pixabay: The cutest fox I could find on Pixabay

Welcome to a very foxy writing lesson. Consider this a crash course in expository writing. Chances are you have already written in the expository style without realizing it. Expository writing is one of the most used styles of writing a reader will come across. It can be found in academic essays, magazines, and many articles here on Medium.

This lesson will outline expository writing and closely exam the six separate subtypes of this popular writing style.

Original examples using a selected topic will be provided for each subtype. The chosen selected topic to serve as examples for the different subtypes…

Image from Pixabay: How I always imagine myself when I read about the supernatural

Ever since early childhood, I have had a special kind of obsession with the paranormal and unsolved mysteries. My parents surprisingly shared this interest and our bookshelves resembled the library of the Addam’s Family. Most of the books were old hardcovers collected across the world from my parent's various travels. Titles included The Witchtrails of Europe, Lost Cities of Ancient Civilisations, and Photographs of the Unknown. Before I could even read I would drag the heavy book into a beanbag and stare with amazement at the “real” photos of UFOs, ghosts, and cryptid monsters.

In 1992 I was 10 years…

Image from Pixabay: With four trees in our yard we never have a shortage of plums.

My mother in law Maria is about to visit and there is a squashed plum plastered across the white ceiling of my kitchen.

The stain was from over a year ago when my then 5-year-old son and I were making jam. We had an abundance of fruit provided by the trees in our backyard. We played a game, throwing the plums, aiming for the waiting pot on the bench. A few strays had splatted, but after the harmless fun was over, it was quickly cleaned up.

A single plum had hit the ceiling. Even with the boost from a chair…

How a simple trade dispute concerning tea between the Chinese Qing Dynasty and the British Empire led to the two Opium Wars of 1839–42 and 1856–60

Colored Image lithograph created by J H Lynch and M A Hayes of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment of Foot, storming the Fortress of Amoy, 1841 Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.

Part of my morning ritual has always involved switching the kettle on and brewing up a lovely cup of tea to start the day. Millions across the globe share my ritual, as, after water, tea is the second most-consumed drink in the world. Unfortunately, a thirst for tea led two empires into a shameful chapter of world history involving addiction and war.

A Taste for Tea

By the 19th century, there was a great demand for Chinese goods such as porcelain, spices, silk, silver, and tea were extremely lucrative for British merchants. Tea was especially profitable.

Tea exports from China increased from 92,000 thousand…

Jen North

Jen has a Bachelor of Social Work, a Bachelor of Arts, and ADHD. She writes about horror, film, history, mental health, and video games. Sometimes she is funny.

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